Ki Tisa – “When You Take Up”

The parasha for this Shabbat is entitled Ki Tisa, meaning “When you take up” and covers Exodus chapter 30 verse 11 to chapter 34 verse 35.

In last week’s Parasha, Adonai commanded Israel to bring consecrated olive oil for the menorah in the Tabernacle and declared that sacred garments be made for the priests. The portion concluded with instructions for building the Incense Altar.

As Parasha Ki Tisa begins, Moses is commanded to take a census of the Israelis. Every male 20 or older was to contribute exactly half a shekel of silver as a census tax to the Sanctuary. Unlike the freewill offering for the construction of the Tabernacle, this offering was required and was to be contributed by both rich and poor alike as an atonement or ransom for their soul. This demonstrates that in God’s sight every person, regardless of status, is of equal value, and equally in need of ransom or atonement.

In Chapter 31, Adonai gives instruction through Moses concerning the Sabbath, stating that it is a sign between the Lord and the people of Israel throughout every generation to the end of the Age. Yeshua taught that the Sabbath day was made for our benefit. The purpose of the Sabbath is that we have a special day set aside each week in which to direct our thoughts and actions toward Adonai. It isn’t just a day to rest from work. It’s a sacred day to be spent in worship and reverence of the One True God of Israel.

Chapter 32 records the grievous sin of the golden calf. The people became greatly concerned because Moses seemed to be on the mountain way too long, and they demanded that Aaron make them a god they could see and follow. Adonai alerted Moses to their sin. He told Moses to go down quickly, saying, “Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.”

When Moses came down the mountain and saw it with his own eyes, he smashed the stone tablets that had been inscribed by God. Does it seem strange that the same people who witnessed the plagues, saw the Red Sea miraculously part and crossed over on dry land, and experienced the giving of the Torah with awe and reverence, were now worshiping at the feet of an idol? But I tell you the truth, we are not so different. Israel may have willingly given their silver and gold to make a false god, but our generation willingly rejects God to amass silver and gold.

Like Israel, we sometimes think that God has forgotten us, or is taking too long, and we take matters into our own hands. We know that the Three-in-One God of the Universe exists beyond time and space, and yet we sometimes fall into the trap of wondering why He has not yet intervened in our lives or in the events of the world. We know that Adonai is sovereign, and yet we question why He allows certain things to happen, or why He doesn’t stop other things from happening. Because we can’t see Him with our eyes, sometimes we act out in ways as if He isn’t there.

Israel felt insecure and frightened and yearned for a visible manifestation to assure them of God’s presence, which on the surface doesn’t seem so bad. Aaron even declared that they would have a feast to Adonai on the following day, which again on the surface sounds great. However, Adonai does not take idolatry lightly, even idolatry with a “godly appearance” to it. His wrath was squarely against them, but Moses pleaded for mercy on their behalf, reminding Adonai of the covenant made with Israel. Moses suggested that if God were to destroy Israel, Israel’s enemies would interpret it to mean that He wasn’t powerful enough to preserve and sustain them.

Although Moses understood the covenant very well, today, many people do not understand God’s purposes for Israel, or the nature of His everlasting covenant with them. There are many Christians who believe that God disowned Israel because of their sinfulness, and that He has started all over again with the Church. This erroneous doctrine is called Replacement Theology. Paul warned the Gentile Believers to be on guard against this kind of arrogance. He explained that God has not disowned Israel, but only temporarily blinded them until the fullness of the Gentiles has come. And just think for a moment, if Israel’s blindness is being used as a blessing to the Gentiles, how much more will the world be blessed once Adonai has removed the blindness from the Jewish people, and all of Israel is saved?

Speaking of being saved, Moses acted as a mediator between Israel and God. This was a foreshadowing of what Messiah Yeshua would do for all of mankind. Both Moses and Messiah were initially rejected by the people when the promised salvation seemed as if it wasn’t going to happen. When Moses first challenged Pharaoh, things got a lot worse for Israel, leading to despair and anger. Yeshua’s crucifixion looked like a hopeless defeat. Both salvation situations initially looked like the promises were not going to come true. But they did.

Both Moses and Yeshua were willing to lay down their own lives for the sake of those they were leading, and to pay for the sins of their people. But only Yeshua could actually bring it to pass. Messiah Yeshua is the Prophet greater than Moses. And, when we place our faith and trust in Yeshua, He forgives our sins and cleanses us of all unrighteous.

Israel repented of their sin and as a sign of their repentance, no one wore any jewelry for the duration of their time in the wilderness. In addition, Adonai instructed Moses to cut two more stone tablets like the first ones, climb Mt. Sinai once again, and then Adonai inscribed the second set re-establishing the covenant with Israel.

If you haven’t already done so, may you surrender to Yeshua, welcome Him into your heart, and receive His salvation.

Shabbat Shalom.